From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bonus round

On Saturday I decanted my first batch of kefir water and used it for a secondary ferment of Mango & Peach juices.  At that time I ended up with 5 bottles of kefir juice and knew I wouldn't need any more for a bit of time.  That said, I scooped up the grains, put 'em in a quart jar with fresh water, some sugar and a dribble of molasses.  Then into the bottom of the fridge where it was coldest.  There.  Go to sleep you little guys.

A scant 48 hours later I scooped out 1/2C of grains and mailed them off to a friend.  I was surprised at home many bubbles there were in the jar.  I thought cold would put them to sleep.  Hmmm.

Another 24 hours later I decided to make more kefir so I could experiment with tea flavors.  Okay, I hauled out the quart jar and - omigosh - MORE grains!  And each of them are HUGE.  No - really.

I drained them and found I had over 1.5C  - AGAIN.

Now wait a minute.  I BOUGHT 1/2C.  I gave AWAY 1/2C.  And I still had 1.5C ??? What are these? MAGIC BEANS??**  I've watched vids all over YouTube how people have these dinky little grains, their grains work but hardly multiply, etc.etc.  

Between the well water, molasses & Turbinado sugar I seem to have the perfect storm, uh, environment for water kefir grains.

Anyway, when I drained the dormant (ha!) grains I ended up with 2C of kefir water.  I set that aside.

Then I got my new find - a 1/2 gallon blue tinted Ball/Mason jar.  It's so pretty I decided to use it for fermenting water kefir from now on.

I filled it with softened well water, added 1/2C Turbinado sugar and  1t of molasses and dumped in ALL THE GRAINS.  Why not?  The jar is certainly not crowded.  Although the ratio of sugar may be a bit low, I can compensate by not letting the ferment go more than, say 20-30 hours, not the full 48 like last time (although these grains have a mind of their own (like, maybe, world domination?)).

Meanwhile, waste not, want not I took the 2C of kefir water I poured out from the 'dormant' jar and decided to make tea with it.  After all, the water was only 72 hours old and had been fermenting at very low temps so I'm sure the water is fine to use.

I added 2C of fresh brewed tea (common black) and a couple tablespoons of organic agave for sweetness and poured out 2 - 16oz bottles to ferment.  If this common tea turns out well, I'll be making up more flavorful types later on (hmm, fresh mint, and herbals...).  One thing - I may only let these 2 bottles ferment for a mere 12 hours seeing as the water seems to be VERY active with probiotics at this point.  I don't want any bottle rockets. LOL

** Or maybe it's the old Ball jars.  Maybe THEY are magic.  If so, I'm going to stuff a couple of C-notes in one of them.  You know -- just in case.... ;-D

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  1. What is the lifespan of these grains? Do they get exhausted after a certain length of time and you need to buy a new batch or, if you are careful, can you keep them going indefinitely?

    1. That would be option C - indefinitely. Like sourdough starters, kombucha scobies, yogurt cultures, water and milk kefirs are living cultures and can brew batch after batch when cared for.